Celebrating (she does for others what I do for my dog when I come home from work)

During a busy day the designer Cristina King popped in for a nail appointment, only to find the woman there in a disgruntled mood. 
One option was to hunker down, wade through the appointment and then go on with her day.
Another option was to envelop the woman with what she needed, admiration, affection. 

“It’s a constant exercise, to get very clear, feeling the purity of love.”

“Every day you have to practice, see if you’re being consciously aware, constantly alert to where your thought is.”

That day Cristina directed the purity of love vibe to the woman doing her nails. And then she just asked whatever came to mind, chatted about whatever felt right.

“By the end of the session she was a joyous person.”

I want to do that for others! I want to BE that person, that mood shifter. 
Sometimes all you need is a reminder, like this one casually tossed off as an aside by Cristina while we were talking of other things. 
It’s a reminder that we do have the power to be that person, the one who changes up the energy in a situation.
And all it takes is a subtle moment of clarity, and then turning on your love beam.

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That stinks: The story of the Buddha as seen by a child

The story of the Buddha could only have been written by a man. 

Though Buddhists had a strong oral tradition, nothing was written down until approximately 400 years after the Buddha’s death. So . . . there may have been some embellishment along the line.

Here’s the quick version I told Zane: Siddhartha grew up fabulously well off. As a young prince whose father doted on him, he had all the riches the world could offer at the time. Still he grew dissatisfied with his life and at the age of 29 he left his family, including his wife and young child.

Zane: “He stinks.”

Me: “Why?”

Zane: “Did he ever go back?”

Me: “To his home?”

Zane: “Yeah, his family.”

Me: “Not for many years, and even then not to go back and live with them.”

Zane: “He stinks. I would never do that.”

Me: “He went on a spiritual journey.”

Zane: “That stinks.”

Me: (I explained Siddhartha’s quest, his suffering, about becoming an extreme ascetic, about his gaggle of fellow severe ascetics, about sitting under the tree, about finding enlightenment—)

Zane, interrupting: “That’s wrong. To give up his wife and child. I would never do that. Would you?”

Me: “No, I wouldn’t. I get exactly what you’re saying. I wouldn’t and I couldn’t leave you. That’s always bothered me about his story too.”

It’s difficult imagining a woman of that era conceiving of his abandonment of his family as part of a noble tale. Nor possibly a child of any era. 

After that Zane was no longer interested in hearing about the Buddha. That may have to wait until a few sleepless months after his first child is born . . . .

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Thoughts on John of God

Readers of The World Is Freaky Beautiful are likely to be already familiar with the Brazilian spiritual healer called John of God. 

If not, I suggest going to these sources to catch up a little on the mystery of this man who cannot write or read and yet has healed many thousands of people (by their own claims) over more than five decades of spiritual healing:

From O Magazine

ABC News

The Skeptic’s Dictionary

John of God’s website

It’s up to you to decide for yourself whether or not you believe he’s channeling spiritual entities — and ultimately God spirit — as he claims.

I’ve seen two or three shows about him. I’ve read, as you can, stories about John of God all over the Internet. 

Healings are not universal through John of God. Many claim to have been healed of incurable diseases. Others claim improvement. And still others report no change. However almost all report some kind of transcendent experience. 

What is his healing success rate?

We don’t know. There’s not been a systematic study. But . . . for argument’s sake . . . let’s say it’s the low, low rate of 5%. (Though many claim the healing rate is significantly higher.)

Would you not go if you had no other options? 

It is predominately the incurable who go to him. Meaning that it is those medicine cannot help who seek him out.

Would we not seek out a medical alternative if it could cure 5% of the incurable? Yes, humans around the globe do it every day. 

Is it spiritual healing or is it mental healing from the power of the patient’s belief?

To me they are one and the same, or rather, they are part of a continuum.

How does John of God operate?

The great majority of people who come to see him are treated with spiritual surgery. In those a physical incision/process does not take place. The method and its immediate effects are invisible.

John of God also performs physical operations. The three most common are a scraping of an eyeball, opening up a nasty gash in the chest and fishing around in the wound with his fingers, and inserting an instrument far up the nose, seemingly with a flourish.

Me, I’d opt for the spiritual surgery. Even Oprah got wobbly and had to sit down upon watching one of these procedures.

What do you make of it, Evan?

I found this interesting from a metaphorical mind viewpoint: That the most common physical surgeries John of God performs — eyes, chest, nose — correspond to powerful spiritual metaphors:

Seeing the truth/light

Opening up one’s heart

Breathing in pure spirit  

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One way to know if it’s a deep relationship

A few weeks ago my sister said this:

There are only four people I can call and say, “Hey, what are you doing?” Everybody else I need a reason to call.

Char brought this up in the context of thinking she didn’t have enough close relationships. She was saying that even some family and friends she’s known for years required a pretext to instigate a call.

Aside from Char’s existential dilemma . . . isn’t that a succinct definition of a deep and natural relationship? If you can call someone and without any awkwardness say, “Hey, what’s up, what’s going on?” 


Can you give up your twitchy fingers?

Can you give up your twitchy fingers? The ones that twitch every time a cell phone notification sounds off?

Can you give up responding that moment?

I gave up my twitch fingers — while I’m meeting with someone, while in certain modes of work or play, during family meal times.

There’s always time a little later on to check, even when it’s important that you remain accessible. My wife and I own an art gallery and it’s critical financially to be in touch about clients, artists and sales in progress. Even so, subsiding the twitchy fingers can be managed with thoughtfulness.

The greatest effect hasn’t been for others, it’s been for me  my mind is less twitchy. I never realized how grabby my mind was, wanting to grab at every little thing.

Meditation demonstrated what a wanderer my mind was. It’s a world-class meanderer, for nothing is uninteresting to my mind, nothing. I mean that both ways it can be taken.

Not responding to cell phone stimuli confronted me with my mind’s acquisitiveness. It’s always seeking to acquire a new experience, even when the one I’m in right now is just fine, thank you.

You know what helped? Not even looking at the damn thing. If I don’t know who’s calling or texting or emailing, then my impulse to attend to the prompt is already cut significantly.

Yes, I hear you asking, what about emergencies??!! Ohhhhhh, there are so many.

My wife does what her mother does, what so many people do in urgent situations; they call back if it’s that important. If someone does that, then I’ll answer. 

(Except if it’s my friend Gil. Because he always does that. Can’t help himself. He leaves a (long) message, remembers something else he wanted to tell me and calls right back. So he’s an exception to the two calls and I’ll answer rule.)

That means I’m free to be with whomever I’m with or do whatever I’m doing, without interruption.

It’s not all the time but it’s enough of the time to feel unchained.  I’m free to flow, and you know how good flow feels. 

PS: You know what also works wonders? To turn it down, turn it off, leave it in another room or another state. This little act shows your grabby mind the digital device is not so important after all.

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Feeling you need approval?

Try to imagine this:

Richard Branson asking permission to enter a market or start a new business.

Steve Jobs asking permission for anything.

Friedrich Nietzche asking permission about what to think.

Nikola Tesla asking permission to craft an invention in his mind.

Elon Musk asking permission to launch an electric car company (named Tesla).

Pablo Picasso asking permission to paint Guernica.

The American colonies asking permission to foment rebellion in order to establish a democracy.

Creators are not permission getters.

Part of the What creators do series.

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That which pushes away what it wants

An anxious heart dispels what it seeks

The Eckhart-Abraham paradox: Live for the moment or live for a dream?

Though there are infinitely nuanced ways to approach life, two ends of the spectrum are these:

  1. Live for the moment
  2. Live for a dream

If you are a fan of contemporary spiritual teachings you could even call it the Eckhart-Abraham paradox.

Eckhart Tolle is famous for The Power of Now, about ridding your thoughts of future and past and living fully in the present moment. 

The channeled teachings of Abraham Hicks popularized the Law of Attraction concept, where you summon future events into your experience according to your thoughts and feelings. If you are not living something now that you desire to live, it is all about thinking and feeling the future experience you desire as if you are living it now . . . until your desire materializes into your life.

You could as easily call it the Eastern-Western paradox.

There are people who live both. My brother is an example. Highly driven to attain his goals, he is also perhaps the most in the moment person I know, fully alive in everything he does, moment by moment. 

I struggle with this. 

For many people one theme of living is predominant. For decades I was pure live for the moment. In the last few years I’ve found myself living for a vision. Yet I seek a unity for the two poles in the way others have, the way you suspect Gandhi or Edison did.

I seek to to live a life vision in the moment. 

Is that cheating? Is it as simple as that, splicing the two themes together? 

It may sound absurd, but having just written that, I feel closer to resolving the paradox for myself.

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A list of what makes an experience satisfying — and the surprising place money holds on that list

According to happiness research, choosing feels better than almost anything. 

This was shown recently by researcher Kennon Sheldon, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri. Dr. Sheldon conducted three large studies aimed at finding out what brings people the greatest satisfaction.

In the book What Happy People Know, Dan Baker, Ph.D. and Cameron Stauth detail the results of these studies, where individuals were asked about their most satisfying recent experiences  and specifically to decipher what it was about those experiences that made them so gratifying.

The results were a stunning confirmation of self-determination theory. The main thing that made the events feel good was the sense of being in charge of them. 

This sense of being in charge included experiencing feelings of autonomy, competence, and self-esteem. 

. . . . . 

Here’s the complete list of what makes events satisfying. 

1. Autonomy; self-esteem; relatedness (three-way tie) 

2. Competence 

3. Pleasure 

4. Self-actualization; physical thriving (tie) 

5. Security 

6. Popularity; influence (tie) 

7. Money

It’s revelatory, isn’t it, that what brings us the greatest satisfaction are the holy triumvirate of personal choice (autonomy), self-regard and relationships.

Equally revealing is this: That three elements we often strive for most  status, power and wealth  are at the bottom of what makes for rewarding experience.

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Which way ever you turn

Every which wonder

Which way ever you turn
Bold whatness in every which thing